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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday 1st in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Sam 1:9-20): Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh, and presented herself before the Lord; at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost of the Lord’s temple. In her bitterness she prayed to the Lord, weeping copiously, and she made a vow, promising: «O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives; neither wine nor liquor shall he drink, and no razor shall ever touch his head».

As she remained long at prayer before the Lord, Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently; though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her, «How long will you make a drunken show of yourself? Sober up from your wine!». «It isn’t that, my lord», Hannah answered. «I am an unhappy woman. I have had neither wine nor liquor; I was only pouring out my troubles to the Lord. Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery». Eli said, «Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him». She replied, «Think kindly of your maidservant», and left.

She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and no longer appeared downcast. Early the next morning they worshiped before the Lord, and then returned to their home in Ramah. When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah, the Lord remembered her. She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the Lord for him.
Responsorial Psalm: 1Sam
R/. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
My heart exults in the Lord, my horn is exalted in my God. I have swallowed up my enemies; I rejoice in my victory.

The bows of the mighty are broken, while the tottering gird on strength. The well-fed hire themselves out for bread, while the hungry batten on spoil. The barren wife bears seven sons, while the mother of many languishes.

The Lord puts to death and gives life; he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again.mThe Lord makes poor and makes rich; he humbles, he also exalts.

He raises the needy from the dust; from the dung heap he lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage.
2nd Reading (1Thess 2:13): Alleluia. Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God. Alleluia.
Versicle before the Gospel ():
Gospel text (Mk 1,21-28): Jesus and his disciples went into the town of Capernaum and began to teach in the synagogue during the sabbath assemblies. The people were astonished at the way he taught, for he spoke as one having authority and not like the teachers of the Law. It happened that a man with an evil spirit was in their synagogue and he shouted, «What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: You are the Holy One of God». Then Jesus faced him and said with authority, «Be silent and come out of this man!». The evil spirit shook the man violently and, with a loud shriek, came out of him.

All the people were astonished and they wondered, «What is this? With what authority he preaches! He even orders evil spirits and they obey Him!». And Jesus' fame spread throughout all the country of Galilee.

«The people were astonished at the way he taught, for he spoke as one having authority and not like the teachers of the Law»

+ Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret (Vic, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, first Tuesday in Ordinary Time, Saint Mark presents Jesus while teaching in the synagogue and, immediately, he comments: «The people were astonished at the way he taught, for he spoke as one having authority and not like the teachers of the Law» (Mk 1:21). This is quite an extraordinary initial notice. On one hand, what His listeners admire is certainly not the doctrine but the Master; it is not what is said, but Who says it. And, on the other hand, it is not the preacher as much but, rather, specifically who He is: Jesus taught «as one having authority», that is, with legitimate and unimpeachable power. Later on, this particularity is reconfirmed with a straight comparison: «He did not do it like the teachers of the Law».

A little later, though, the scene of the man with an evil spirit integrates the doctrinal lesson with an admirable motivation: «What is this? With what authority he preaches a new Law!» (Mk 1:27). Notwithstanding, we may as well note the qualifying adjective does not refer so much to the contents as it does to the uniqueness: the doctrine is “new”. Here we find another reason of contrast: Jesus communicates something unheard of (never ever this word could be better applied).

We still add a third remark. His authority comes also from the fact Jesus «even orders evil spirits and they obey Him!». We are facing here such a deep contrast as in the other two previous ones. To the Master's authority and to the newness of His doctrine we must add His power against evil spirits.

Brothers! Our faith tell us this Liturgy of the Word makes us contemporaries of what we have just heard and comment on. Let us ask ourselves with humble gratefulness: Do I fully realize no man has ever said, as Jesus did, the Word of God the Father? Do I feel rich with a message that holds no comparison either? Do I realize what liberating force Jesus and His teachings have in human life and, more specifically, in my life? Touched by the Holy Spirit, let us tell our Redeemer: Jesus-life, Jesus-doctrine, Jesus-victory, please, as the great Raymond Llully liked to say, may we live in a constant “wonder” of You!

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